WJazz is the stage name of Spearfish guitarist Ward Johnston. The Colorado native moved to the northern Black Hills community recently and says it's been a challenge finding musicians who know jazz. But he found a few and they're joining Johnston for a performance at the Matthews Opera House in Spearfish Friday evening at 7:30. It's the second event in the Club Matthews new Jazz Sessions event.
Johnston grew up in Colorado Springs. He studied jazz guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Denver University. He also has a masters degree in music education from Northern Arizona University. He teaches music in Moorcroft, Wyoming and in the upcoming school year will take over a director of bands and choir at Sundance High School.
Johnston has released an album titled WJazz Live featuring performances recorded two years ago in Grand Junction, Colorado. He'll play music from the album during Friday evening's concert at the Matthews Opera House.
Johnston joined Jazz Nightly and discussed the upcoming concert and how he gets his students interested in jazz.